I had been asked if I could collect seeds of the Pale Spring Beauty I had found years ago on the Boundary Bay dunes. Not likely, I said, unless I can find the plants here on the Island. And then a friend showed photos of the flowers, taken in Comox. I asked her for the location - Kin Park, just above the shoreline - and planned a trip when they would have gone to seed.
|Claytonia exigua, Boundary Bay, April, 2011. Under two inches tall.|
The roads in and around Comox wind around, uphill and down, through forests, past open marsh, farm land, residential areas, never keeping to the same direction for five minutes at a time. At this time of year, especially, with the sunlight glowing through new leaves and the signs warning us to watch for deer, it's easy to get distracted.
Friday morning, I mapped out my route carefully, as usual. But I missed my turn and ended up at a dead end, at the Little River restoration project. No sign of Kin Park, but I had to be close; I left the car and walked through wetlands and a housing development to reach the shore. In less than an hour of searching, I found my Claytonia. Two large plants, the largest almost 6 inches across, and gone to seed!
Home again, hot and tired, still dizzy from the heat, and with a camera full of photos, I checked Google maps again, found my missed turn, looked at Kin Park, and decided to go back the next day.
This time, I turned too soon, drove around in circles until I ended up at a dead end in Kye Bay. Retraced my route twice, found the road I needed, and finally, found Kin Park, and three large patches of Claytonia. Mission accomplished!
|The largest of the plants, about 6 inches across, growing near the base of a stump buried in sand. Little River area.|
|Seed pods, almost ripe.|
Claytonia grows, according to E-Flora, in "Moist, open vernal sites,"; where I have found them, each time, has been just at the intersection of dunes and open meadow. The tiniest were in dry spots; the larger ones were sheltering at the base of logs and a stump, where a bit of moisture still remains even on sunny days.
More photos of Claytonias and other shore and wetland plants next.
(And now I have to go back to Kye Bay; chocolate lilies grow there!)